Any woodworkers here?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by wayneh, Dec 11, 2015.

  1. wayneh

    Thread Starter Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    I just got a Craftsman table saw off a craigslist curb alert. It's worth $100-150, so getting it free is a nice score. It cleaned up nicely and runs fine.

    I'm properly afraid of the thing and have been reading about how to use a table saw safely. Rip with the fence, cross-cut with the miter gauge, keep your hands away from the blade by using a push stick, that sort of thing. Basic good form.

    My saw no longer had the stock blade guard attached so I went looking for advice on woodworking forums. One thing I've noticed is that virtually all users (that write in forums) remove all the safety guards for better visibility and ease of use. Some leave the riving knife or splitter in place for ripping. Any opinions on that?

    Some folks mention adding a knee-activated switch so it can be shut down without using a hand to hit the stock with. I'd like that for my router as well, so I'd like to find a good one for both applications. Preferences?
  2. wayneh

    Thread Starter Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    BTW, here's a photo of a recent project, a nightstand. By far the nicest piece I've done so far.

  3. nerdegutta


    Dec 15, 2009
    I have a table saw, and removed all the "junk" that was in my face. I also have a saw like this:
    Which I have mounted upside-down in a ply-wood arrangement. (I use this to cut my PCBs)

    When I use my saws, I'm always using ear protection, and glasses. If what I am cutting is small, I use a push stick. Before I start pushing the pieces towards the rotating blade, I take a deep breath, and focus.

    I've been cutting wood, plastic and aluminium like this since '92 or '93. For the last six or seven years, I've cut different types of PCBs too.

    I can still count to ten, without using other bodyparts, than my fingers. :)
  4. nerdegutta


    Dec 15, 2009
    What type of wood did you use? Oak?
  5. djsfantasi

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 11, 2010
  6. wayneh

    Thread Starter Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    Yeeesh! I play a guitar (and pick my nose) more often than I saw, so that's pretty much what I would like to avoid.
  7. wayneh

    Thread Starter Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    Yup, stock red oak lumber straight from the Home Depot. I spend a fair amount of time choosing boards. It's probably one of my least favorite parts of the project.

    Those little accent pieces were pine I think, maybe poplar.
    nerdegutta likes this.
  8. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
    Grandpa taught me a trick to help prevent sticking and make long cuts on the table saw go smoothly.
    Get a bar of Ivory soap and apply it to both sides of the blade. I like to turn on the motor and the turn it off. Will the blade spins down I apply the bar of soap to a side of the blade. Repeat for the other side. Don't bother with the outer edge where the teeth are. It is the interior solid portion of the blade that will grab and drag as you move your wood past it.
    Off topic: for metal cutting blades like hack saws, use candle wax.
  9. MaxHeadRoom


    Jul 18, 2013
    Solid oak is one of my favourites.
    I did some work at one place that had sheets of steel separated by 4x4 rough sawn oak, the guys used to saw it up for fire wood. I got my hands on a quantity and cleaned and planed it up, and it had some the most nicest Oak grain I have seen, including some quarter sawn.
  10. wayneh

    Thread Starter Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    Where I live (northern Illinois), oak is by far the most economical hardwood and really the only thing available in the stores without dealing with a specialized shop. It's something like 2-3X over the cost of pine. It's a bargain when the cost of wood is such a small part of the overall project.
  11. wayneh

    Thread Starter Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    Nice tip.
    Now that you mention it, I remember my dad doing that once in a while. He also taught me to roll a wood screw against a bar of soap before driving it in. That's back when we still used hand screwdrivers. (I love my cordless screwdriver!)
  12. Lestraveled

    Well-Known Member

    May 19, 2014
    I have had the same Craftman table saw for 35 years. Yes I took all the un-safe safety stuff off it. I have never used any kind of lubrication on the blade. My tips are:
    - Use high quality blades and keep them sharp.
    - Use soft pine for your push sticks. (Don't use oak.)
    - Hook your finger over the fence whenever possible.
    - Be ready to let a piece go. Never EVER try to save a piece of wood.
    - Develop a "table saw disciple" where you let the saw spin to a stop before you do anything.

    Using soap can mess up a glue joint.
  13. Lestraveled

    Well-Known Member

    May 19, 2014
    Oh yea. Use a micrometer to check that the blade and the fence are parallel with one another and the table grooves. This is a very common problem with Craftman table saws. Never set correctly from the factory.

    Edit: If the blade is not parallel you would need soap on the blade. If everything is true, the wood will never touch anything but the teeth of the blade.

    Edit: I had to loosen my blade assembly to make it parallel.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2015
    Kermit2, shortbus and nsaspook like this.
  14. wayneh

    Thread Starter Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    I'd like to build myself a riving knife but for my old saw it would be a custom fabrication of a complex 3D shape. Could be above my pay grade. I think it initially had a splitter but I can't see how it would've been attached either.
  15. markdem

    Active Member

    Jul 31, 2013
    Agree with thet 100%. It is a old wife's tale regarding putting lubrication on the blade. I think it would come from someone seen someone use wax on a blade for aluminium or using lubrication on a cold saw. A wood saw (with a few exceptions) has a kerf that is about 1mm wider then the center of the blade. Measure the width of a cut and then the center of the blade to see what I mean. If you are rubbing the solid part something is very wrong with the fence or method you are using. Same goes for blades that have teflon coatings. The wood should never touch that part. Blades for cutting aluminium and most cold saw blades have very little, and sometimes 0, relief angle and therefor need some lube.

    The riving knife, or at least a separator, is a must. It does 2 things. It keeps the wood open on the back of the blade so the wood does not catch and fly up and , more importantly, it keeps the wood inline with the blade incase it does catch. Without it if the wood gets flung up above the saw and then lands back on the blade (instead on the blade going thought the cut slot) it can get very messy very fast. That's why when using dado blades extra care is needed to keep the wood down.
    When you make the knife, remember that the top of the knife must be slightly higher then the top of the blade.

    Re the e-stop, I prefer a foot switch. I just feel like I would be able to find it faster the a knee switch but I think it is just what you feel better with. If your gear is powered via a extension cord, just put a inline estop and then you can use it for both machines.
    I find the best safety feature I can have in my workshop is a second person who knows where the shop estop is :)

    I think my guard for my saw is still in the box, 7 years after I bought this saw..

  16. jgessling

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 31, 2009
    I gave my table saw away several years ago. Great feeling not to worry about my fingers anymore. I did build a really nice bed frame with it and some cabinets. But I feel better without it. Similar to how I feel after selling my motorcycle and knowing I will die a different way.
  17. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
    Flying through a sweeping turn at 100 and low-siding into a guard rail or a cancer diagnosis and months of chemotherapy. There is something to think about as I lay me down to sleep.
    spinnaker and Lestraveled like this.
  18. boatsman

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2008
    I used to have a radial arm saw. I preferred it to a table saw. I think it is much safer, but on the other hand it's limited in the width of cutting. When I used to cut aluminium I would use a stick of tallow as a lubricant. As a safety device you could use an earth leakage safety device with a push button switch in series. That will cut off the electricity supply immediately.
  19. joeyd999

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 6, 2011
    I am in awe of those who find the time to pursue manly crafts as a hobby (as opposed to for income). Perhaps I am doing it wrong, but marriage 23 years ago, and running a business, pretty much stifled any opportunity to do the same. Heck, with all the estrogen in the house, I can't even watch NFL football anymore.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2015
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  20. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
    I have an industrial foot pedal switch I pulled out of the dumpster at work years ago. Price tag is a few hundred bucks. I put a 120v pump switch plug on it and I use it where needed; on the lathe, sandblasting cabinet, bandsaw, etc. If I had a table saw, I'd use it for that too. Just plug the device into the pump switch plug, plug the pump switch plug into the wall, and now your device if foot operated. I feel much safer, especially on the lathe, that if I fall down or have to jump back for any reason, the foot pedal is a "dead man switch ". For example I have a 2"X72" belt grinder and when the belt breaks it usually gets wrapped around the drive wheel and turns into a deadly tool throwing, flesh removing instrument of mass abrasion. If not for the foot switch, I'd have to approach the beast to end it's tantrum. Simply step away.

    I wouldn't call myself a "wood worker" but I do enjoy woodworking as a less-than-serious hobby. Almost as much as I enjoy metal working.

    Here's a project I'm working on currently; it's a fusion of my half ass metal working and wood working "talent".

    I got this mondo pallet from work a few months back. It sat out in the weather for a few months before I got it, and got a nice patina on it.:


    I took it home, busted it up, and made some closet shelves out of it. I put way too much effort into closet shelves, but I learned how to make this wood look nice.

    From left to right, unsanded, partially sanded, partially sanded and lacquered:


    Now my wife wants what she calls an "entry table" (never heard of it). I used this as an excuse to get a router and router table, and I plan to use the next request as an excuse to get a TIG welder.

    Here's the router and table; got it as a set for $79 on black friday. Router seems to be excellent quality for a craftsman product. Table is cheap crap, but usable.


    And here's what I use to join the metal; i call it "metallic blob deposition and removal;" craftsman calls it "welding."


    The router allows me to perfectly plane the edges so I can glue them together to make planks like a butchers block, instead of having cracks between the board like when I made the shelves.


    Here's the concept, it isn't done. I'll post more pics when it's done. It will have the same finish as the shelves, but will have nice clean routered edges:


    BTW wayneh I really like the finish on your table . What did you use? Lacquer? Epoxy? What kind of sanding did you do?
    nerdegutta likes this.